As cooler weather approaches, many homeowners are considering heating options. If your house is like the vast majority of Americans, you have three main options when it comes to heating your home: a furnace, a boiler, or a forced air heat pump. Learn the way each of these heating options operate, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Forced Air Heat Pump
A heat pump pulls heat from the surrounding air to warm the house. It can also be used for home cooling. Heat pumps are fueled by electricity or geothermal energy. Among the most efficient heating options, heat pumps have a HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) of 6.8-10. Systems under 8 HSPF can even earn you tax credits for energy efficiency! Forced air heat pumps have a lifespan of 15 years.
Forced air heat pumps don’t create heat. Instead, they find heat — even in very cold air — and transfer it inside where you need it. The pros of heat pumps are two-fold: In moderate climates, a heat pump can provide both your heating and cooling needs. Some types can be expensive to install, so while heat pumps save you money in the long run, the upfront cost can be daunting.
A furnace heats air and uses a blower motor and air ducts to describe warm air throughout the house. They are fueled by natural gas, propane, heating oil, and electricity. Your furnace can last from 15-30 years, and it’s efficiency highly depends on the systems’ age (59-98.5%). While furnaces are more inexpensive to install than heat pump systems, their blower fans can be loud and disruptive. Your energy bill can also highly vary depending on fuel type and market rates for gas, oil, and electric.
A boiler heats water to provide hot water or steam for heating that is then distributed through a series of pipes in the home. Steam is distributed via pipes to steam radiators, and hot water can be distributed via baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems or can heat air via a coil.
Boilers are fueled by natural gas, propane, heating oil, biodiesel blends, or electricity. Their life expectancy is 15-30 years, which in turns affects efficiency rating (50-99% depending on age). Boilers are a good option for zone heating — only heating the rooms you use in your home. However, they are expensive to install and require a minimum temperature to prevent pipes from freezing.
Evaluating Your AC Options
At the end of the day, a heat pump is most likely the most efficient home heating option – but it all depends on the climate and type of home you are in. In some instances, a boiler for zone heating is better. And in other cases, a furnace can save you money when it is powered by cheaper fuel like natural gas.
Regardless of what option you choose, a new heating system will almost always pay off in the long run. Today’s technology allows heating systems to use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of heat as models made in the mid-1970s. And if your system is less than 10 years old, you’re saving 20% to 40% of your energy costs. On top of that, today’s programmable thermostats allow you to tailor your home temperature in a way that syncs up with your living schedule. Combine all that efficiency with increased air quality, and the benefits are hard to beat!
One Hour Air Technicians are happy to work with you to deliver the best home heating options. When it’s time to beat the chill, just pick up the phone or schedule an online appointment. Comfort is on its way!